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Track(s) taken from CDA67976

Aeterna caeli gloria

July to September 2007; Brockley; SSAATTBB; commissioned by the Musicians Benevolent Fund; first performed on the eve of St Cecilia's Day 2007 by the combined choirs of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St Paul's Cathedral under James O'Donnell
author of text
5th-century Abrosian Hymn

The State Choir Latvija, Māris Sirmais (conductor)
Recording details: March 2010
St John's Church, Riga, Latvia
Produced by Normunds Slava
Engineered by Aivars Stengelis & Normunds Slava
Release date: January 2013
Total duration: 6 minutes 36 seconds

Cover artwork: Moonlight Departure (1998) by Richard Crichton (b1935)
Private Collection / Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Australia / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Unquestionably the State Choir Latvia is a magnificent body of singers. They encompass a vast dynamic range and deliver words and music with impeccable precision and clarity … they thrill with their rhythmically compelling opening unisons, entice with their delicate chording … and soothe with their lilting harmonic underlay' (Gramophone)

'In The Voice of the Bard, which opens this Gabriel Jackson collection, the State Choir Latvija manages both a bristling ardour in its delivery of the text and a virtuoso response to the vocal demands of the setting … Jackson's long, soothingly lyrical arcs of melody are sensually shaped and executed with impressive corporate unanimity … an incandescent performance of the 40-part motet Sanctum est verum lumen sets the seal on this magnificent demonstration of the art of choral singing' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This disc is, quite simply, full of marvels … any listener will surely react with awe to the sheer splendour and choral daring, both from the composer and from the fabulous choir' (International Record Review)

'All the music is full of interest and is written with what we’ve come to expect from this composer; namely a highly imaginative ear for choral texture, great empathy for the human voice and tremendous responsiveness to texts. It’s hard—nay, impossible—to imagine these pieces receiving finer advocacy than they receive from the superb Latvian choir, who give one of the most memorable exhibitions of unaccompanied choral singing that I’ve heard for some time. If you factor in also that the recorded sound is splendid and the documentation up to Hyperion’s usual excellent standards then this disc can only be regarded as a pretty compelling proposition' (MusicWeb International)
Aeterna caeli gloria could be seen as Jackson’s hymn to St Cecilia. His setting of the fifth-century Ambrosian text was first performed in 2007 on the eve of the feast of music’s patroness, brought to life then by the combined choirs of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral. The work launches its ascent of the heaven of invention with a hieratic choral chant, precisely etched in eight real parts, and a corresponding melodic flourish for the word ‘gloria’. The hymn’s initial brilliance, aural and technical, gives way to an extended reflection on the figure of Christ as ‘our only hope’ before Jackson turns up the brightness with a modulation from C major to E major at ‘Ortus refulget’. The two pitch centres peacefully coexist until the final verse of praise, securely rooted in C major and crowned by a return of material familiar from the opening.

from notes by Andrew Stewart © 2013

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